What Content Does Sales Need?

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95% of sales people think content is essential to advance deals. So, why is 80% of content unused by sales teams? All of that great material that your marketing and sales enablement organization is building is sitting idly. Powerful sales assets such as content could convert a lead or close a deal must be deployed.

We analyzed the space deeply, and concluded that there are two primary reasons for content disuse. First: sales people can’t find the material. The answer here is to make it easier to search and find but also to proactively push content to sales people where they work based on their sales situation.

The Second Reason Why Content Isn’t Used by Sales

There’s a second reason why content isn’t used by sales: it isn’t the right materials for the sales team. Consider the content that marketing uses in the top of the funnel. These materials are often marketing assets used to generate awareness and interest. That might not be great for building a business case. It might be too generic to support competitive situations. And it might be too high level to address a prospect’s technical or implementation questions.

This is the core of the second reason why content doesn’t get used. Sales people aren’t confident that it is the right material for them to use with prospects. We’ve addressed this by calculating the “Sales Content Impact” score for content. That’s a dynamic number analogous to a lead score. It looks at the performance of content in individual sales situations and ranks content. That makes it easy for reps to know which sales assets their colleagues were successful with in similar opportunities.

Build the Right Sales Assets

What if in addition to pushing great assets to sales people and giving them confidence about which materials to use, you were producing the exact types of material that sales needed?

First off, SAVO generates a wealth of analytics about which content is performing and where there are gaps. So you can see if individual content pieces are doing well and should be replicated; or content pieces that are failing and should be revised or eliminated; and even where there are missing pieces that sales is requesting.

At the same time you want to know which content generally works across the industry for each type of sales asset. Do case studies work well in the top of funnel, or is it bottom of funnel? Are datasheets still relevant in today’s market? Video is important, right?

Million Sales Interactions

One of the great things about a SaaS application is that you gather a tremendous amount of anonymized data that you can analyze. Because our clients have searched, browsed, and shared content more than a million times we can see which content types are most effective in different sales situations.

Our team took that data and deeply analyzed it to learn what kinds of content should be produced. There were some interesting and unexpected results. And they are all compiled within a detailed report that KnowledgeTree’s Shelley Cernel and Cheyanne Ritz developed.

Some of the unexpected results you’ll see:

  • Datasheets are still relevant. I’m guilty of dismissing the humble datasheet. But in fact they are highly successful in the sales process across companies. Why? Often buyers just need to know what they are actually buying and they simply want a list of functionality.
  • Implementation guides are most effective early in the sales process. What? A technical piece that speaks about a product the buyer hasn’t bought is a high conversion piece? It is, because buyers want to know if implementation is difficult or not. That’s an important question in a world of hyper-competing priorities for what to do next.
  • Case studies perform best late in the sales process. While many of us might think of case studies as an awareness tool to help early-stage prospects imagine a successful outcome, in fact the reality is a little different. We’re seeing that senior buyers want validation that a purchase they’re about to make is the right one. “Social proof” helps ensure that that confidence is high.

Armed with the insights from this analysis, marketing and sales enablement teams can produce more and better content that sales teams need. Then, in concert with a sales asset cloud, they can help sales teams use more content in their sales process.


Download the report and analysis for your marketing team and help them produce the kinds of materials your sales teams need.

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